8 Things To Know Before Adopting a Cat

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What to know when you adopt a cat feature

Cats can make absolutely wonderful pets. In addition to being naturally super-cute and cuddly animals, having cats as companions can be very beneficial for their owners’ mental and emotional well-being.

Also, felines are typically very independent and low-maintenance animals that, for the most part, are able to take care of themselves. They are fastidious groomers, are generally very quiet and don’t require a large living space to be happy. Plus, cats are very easy to house-train, they don’t need to be walked and they don’t require formal obedience training.

However, cats have very specific needs that must be acknowledged in order for them to be happy and healthy, and a happy and healthy cat will make you happy in the long run. So, if you are considering adopting cats, it’s imperative that you carefully think it through and make sure that you will be able to properly care for them.

Many people are quick to adopt cats simply because they think they’re so adorable, especially when they are kittens. But, they don’t consider the long-term commitment, cost, happiness, health, and well-being of the cats themselves. So, in this article, we’ll give you some helpful tips for how to properly adopt and care for a cat.

1. Things To Consider Before Adopting a Cat

  • Supplies – Cats require a few, basic supplies in order for them to be happy and healthy. These supplies include food and water, a litter box, a scratching post or pad, a comfy bed, and some grooming supplies.
  • Home Environment – Making sure that your home is cat-friendly is another very important aspect of adoption. So, before you bring your new friend home, be sure that you have a safe environment that is free from any potential dangers.
  • Grooming – Even though cats spend a lot of time cleaning themselves, they still need to be brushed on occasion to keep their fur healthy, and they also need to have their nails clipped on a regular basis.
  • Behavior – It’s important to interact with your cats often and also give them stimulating toys to play with. Doing this will help to create a strong, friendly bond with your cats while also giving them physical activity.
  • Companionship – Cats are very independent animals but they tend to live happier lives if they have other cats to interact with. So, if you are considering adopting one, you should definitely consider adopting two.
  • Longevity – Like all animals, adopting a cat is a commitment, and cats can typically be a long-term commitment, often living well into their teens. So, be prepared for a long relationship with your new, furry friend.
  • Medical Care – Even though cats are not generally considered expensive animals to own, it’s extremely important that you consider the cost of veterinary visits. Regular check-ups, vaccinations, and emergency vet visits can be expensive if you aren’t prepared for them.

2. Things To Keep In Mind When Adopting a Cat

Person scratching a cat's cheek.

When you adopt a new cat, you’ll want to bear several things in mind. You need to prepare the home for your new cat’s arrival, and you also need to prepare yourself to care for them.

In this article, we’ll expand on some of these important things to consider when adopting cats.

And, remember, all cats have their own unique personalities, so you may have to do some experimenting to discover what works best for your cats, and what works best for you.

Still, cats can enhance almost anyone’s life, and you can definitely enhance the lives of the cats that you adopt.

3. Cats Require Specific Supplies

Although cats are very independent animals, they have very specific requirements in order for them to be happy and healthy. Obviously, food and water are essential (along with food and water bowls), and a litter box with litter is also a must-have for cats.

There are several different types of food and litter, and the breed of your cat may determine which are the most suitable. And, it’s extremely important to make sure that your cats’ feeding bowls and litter box are thoroughly cleaned on a very regular basis.

Also, giving your cat a bed or a ‘cozy spot’ helps them to feel more at home, along with helping them to feel more safe and secure. And, even though cats usually do fine in smaller living spaces like apartments, they still require mental and physical stimulation, so it’s important that they have plenty of toys to play with.

Cat trees, scratching posts and scratching pads are other great things to have in your home to encourage mental and physical stimulation, along with helping to keep their claws well-groomed, which can help to prevent them from clawing your furniture.

4. Make Your Home Cat-Friendly

Cat sitting in a cat tree with a toy

When you welcome a feline into your house, make sure that it is cat-friendly with plenty of opportunities for entertainment and play.

Before bringing your new friend home, be sure to set up all of your cat supplies in advance. You may think that’s all you have to do, but your home can have several dangers that a new cat owner might not be aware of.

Once your cat starts to feel comfortable in its new environment, it will most likely start exploring your home, which is especially true when it comes to kittens.

Chewing can be a common thing that cats do, so make sure that electrical cords are covered and that blind cords are out of their reach. Also, check the types of plants that you have and make sure that they are not poisonous if ingested.

Medications, toiletry items and cleaning supplies should all be put away, wastebaskets and garbage cans should not be left out in the open, and toilet seats should be closed. Lastly, the doors to washers and dryers should always be closed, and smaller appliances like paper shredders should be unplugged when not in use.

5. Cats Need To Be Groomed Regularly

 Even though cats are meticulous groomers, spend a lot of time cleaning themselves and almost never need to be bathed, they still need a little help with grooming once in a while. Regardless of their breed or the length of their fur, cats require a good brushing on a regular basis to get rid of excess fur, dirt and other debris that may accumulate.

Also, brushing your cat once or twice a week helps to stimulate their blood circulation, giving them a healthier coat. Plus, brushing helps to reduce hairballs, helps to reduce shedding, and it’s also a good way for you to check for fleas and ticks. Finally, cats typically enjoy their brushing sessions, and it can be a great bonding experience for both of you.

As for a cat’s claws, they need to be checked and trimmed on a regular basis, too. Although scratching posts and scratching pads help to keep them well-groomed, trimming your kitty’s claws can also help prevent them from destroying your furniture, curtains and other items around your home.

Also, if a cat is less active and its claws get too long, it can be uncomfortable and even painful for the cat. Depending on the cat, trimming its claws can sometimes be a challenging undertaking, but not an impossible one. However, there are many groomers and veterinarians who offer this service for a typically reasonable fee.

6. Companionship and Behavior

Child with bengal cat

Familiarize yourself with feline behavior and how to be a good companion to your new cat.

Although cats are very independent animals and are often very content to be left alone, they still enjoy companionship and interaction now and then. So, it’s important to make it a priority to spend time with them on a regular basis, either by using toys, snuggling, grooming or just greeting and petting them when you see them.

Cats tend to enjoy this kind of attention, and doing this will also help you to strengthen your bond with them, which will be beneficial for their (and your) happiness in the long run.

Also, cats usually enjoy the company of other cats, so having other cats in your home to interact with will give them the opportunity to develop relationships, encourage more physical activity and playing, as well as giving them an added sense of comfort. So, if you are considering adopting a cat, you should absolutely consider adopting two.

7. Cats Are a Long-Term Commitment

cat sniffing man's hair

Social grooming, also called allogrooming, is a sign of social bonding and is associated with bonding and security.

If you are thinking of adopting, be sure to take into consideration the longevity of a typical house cat, and be aware that it will most likely be with you for many, many years.

The average life-span of an indoor cat can be anywhere from 10-15 years, while many can live much longer than that. So, be sure to carefully consider how great a responsibility it is to adopt, and recognize that it is not something that should be done impulsively.

In addition to the cost and the daily duties involved with cat ownership, it can also be a tremendous emotional strain for you if you aren’t prepared for what lies ahead once you adopt. Even though cats are very independent, they still require a lot of love, care and devotion on a daily basis in order for them to live a happy and healthy life, and to be a good companion for you.

8. Be Prepared for Veterinary Visits

Cat being checked by veterinarian

Consider that your cat will likely need regular veterinary care, including checkups and vaccinations.

Cats aren’t typically expensive animals to own, but in addition to the cost of food, litter and other supplies, veterinary visits are another, regular cost that you need to take into consideration.

Depending on where you adopt your cat from, the cat may have already been given a check-up and certain vaccinations before you take it home. But, depending on where you live, there may be additional, recurring vaccinations that you need to take care of, some of which may be required by law.

Another thing you’ll need to do before adopting is to find a veterinarian in your area that treats cats, and also find a 24-hour emergency animal hospital.

You should definitely schedule regular check-ups for your cat at least once a year, but you also need to be prepared for unexpected vet visits in case of illness, injury or an emergency. Emergency vet visits can often be very costly, so be sure to be mindful of this when you consider adopting.

Final Thoughts

Cats are extremely popular pets to own and can make terrific companions. However, there are many things to consider when adopting them, so potential owners need to be aware of the commitment involved.

But, with the right food, supplies and general care, you can provide your cats with a happy and healthy life, and create several fond memories with them throughout the years.

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About Michael Vogelsang

Owned by a colony of 12 cats, Michael is an animal lover, writer, musician and voice actor who has always loved having animals in his life. He and his wife enjoy their involvement with local shelters and the rescue community, as well as taking care of their ever-growing family of animals.

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  1. Afton Jackson

    Thank you for the heads up about potential unexpected veterinarian visits and how you should prepare for them if you want to adopt a cat. We decided to help my cousin out by adopting the cats she can no longer take care of, and I wanted to be prepared so we won’t make her feel bad by making them sick or weak. I’ll take your advice and start looking for a local veterinarian in the area that we can regularly ask to do some checkups on the cats.